Most of the popular weight loss plans of the day encourage low, and sometimes VERY low carbohydrate consumption. The Keto diet is one of the more extreme examples. But if you want to lose weight and regain your health, you need to eat carbs!
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Don’t eat carbs. Or at least, don’t eat too many carbs. Wait, eat complex carbs, but don’t eat fruit. Or don’t eat potatoes. Eat bacon and steak, and lots of avocados and cheese.
Confused yet? How many different ways of eating have you heard over the years?
Let’s set the record straight. Fruits, vegetables, grains, and starches are the keys. We’ve really always known this, right? Regular, natural food. Not some alleged caveman diet, as awesome as it may sound to eat meat, meat, and more meat.
As a brief aside, eating a bunch of meat all the time doesn’t sound great to me.
While it may not be a popular stance today, eating carbs is actually very important to your health. Carbohydrates are your brain’s and body’s main fuel.
Plus, if you eat the right kind of carbs in abundance, you almost can’t help but regulate your weight.
Meaning, you lose weight if you need to, stay the same if you’re already at a good weight.
The Original Keto Diet?
Here’s an interesting story that many of you will remember if you’re over 50.
Back in the late seventies there was a high protein craze wherein we were encouraged to drink this foul-tasting red liquid that was allegedly all protein.
It was supposed to put you into “ketosis.” Sound familiar? Yeah, thought so.
I was in my early twenties back then and lived with my aunt. She and I did this together for a couple of weeks and it was horrible. The red liquid protein swill was the only thing we ingested.
Did we lose weight? Of course! Did it come back? What do you think?
We even had these little keto sticks that we peed on to make sure we were in ketosis. How true is that old saying, “the more things change the more they stay the same.”
I’ll be honest here. I don’t know if the current keto craze has people peeing on sticks and I’m not even gonna look it up.
And by the way, the food plate at left looks much more appetizing than the red liquid stuff from the seventies.
I personally cannot imagine eating like this for a long period of time, but to each her own.
And by the way, the marketing for keto now is way better than it was before.
This is probably why it’s lasted so long this time around.
Plus, people DO lose weight on it!
That alone is enough to get some people to try just about anything (including horrible-tasting liquid protein).
The Best Carbohydrates For Weight Loss
But that’s not the point here. I want to talk about carbohydrates. And why eating more starchy carbs will help you lose weight.
The low carb/high protein craze is not new.
I remember low carb stores popping up along the freeway here in Portland back when my kids were still home. They’re gone now, but the message lingers.
And for sure the processed crap we’ve been eating for the past 30+ years is awful and rightly should be (mostly) struck from our diets.
When I was a kid, we ate a lot of protein, a few iceberg lettuce salads and a few other puny veggies mostly from a can. Protein was king back then as well.
But somewhere in the late 80s/early 90s, the big bad boogie man of fat roared its head. We started eating low fat this and low fat that. Remember Snackwell’s? OMG, I loved the chocolate ones.
But those things were full of sugar and who knows what else. They were NOT healthy carbohydrates, that’s for sure.
And then I heard about Nathan Pritikin, and Dr. John McDougall.
While Pritikin’s food plan allowed for small amounts of meat and dairy, McDougall is all in with no meat, no dairy, no oil.
What Are Healthy Carbs For Weight Loss?
Just lots and lots of carbs. But a special kind. Fruits, vegetables, legumes, corn, potatoes, grains (yay, bread!), a few nuts depending on whether or not you need to lose a lot of weight.
I loved it! Not only that, I thrived on it. Carbohydrates are my jam. Don’t get me wrong. I like steaks and chicken and pork chops.
But potatoes and bread and corn? Oh yeah. Count me in.
And vegetables and fruit and rice and beans. I love them all!
Eating all those carbohydrates not only helped me to lose weight, the new way of eating regulated my blood pressure and my cholesterol level.
Truth be told, I’m learning to like more vegetables. And new ways to cook them, too, at age 60+!! I love that I’m always learning. Even my 85 year old mom has learned a thing or two about cooking veggies (and she likes them).
For some great and very convincing books about eating lots of healthy carbohydrates…like MAINLY carbs, you need look no further than these suggestions below.
The Healthiest Diet on the Planet by Dr. John McDougall
UnDo It!, by Dr. Dean Ornish
The Starch Solution, by Dr. John McDougall
The Key To Losing Weight Is Eating Healthy Carbohydrates
In Dr. McDougall’s book The Starch Solution, the recommendation is to eat about a 70% starch diet. What are starches?
- Grains, such as corn, millet, oats, rice, wheat, barley
- Legumes, such as beans, lentils, and peas
- Starchy vegetables, such as carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squashes
Next is non-starchy vegetables, which should compose about 20% of your diet. These include:
- leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach, kale, and other greens
- cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, brussels sprouts and cauliflower
- summer squashes, onions, peppers, radishes
Finally, fruits, which would round out your diet at 10%. Including:
- apples, pears, peaches
- oranges, grapefruit, tangerines
- pineapple, papaya, mangoes, melons
Download a handy healthy carbohydrate list to remind you of the best foods for health & weight loss.
Eating More Carbohydrates Is Not Only Healthy, It’s Delicious
Lest you think this seems like a limited diet, you cannot imagine how much you can do with the above foods. Just think of what you can with potatoes alone!
Baked, “fried,” mashed, hash browns, potato soup.
There are veggie burgers, untold numbers of soups with and without grains, pilafs, casseroles, chili, pizza, endless types of salads.
Smoothies (both green and fruity) muffins, stews, pancakes, french toast.
One of my very favorite recipes I ever made while strictly McDougalling was whole wheat toasted French bread with roasted garlic spread. Oh, how heavenly with some oil and meat free pasta sauce over whole wheat (or bean) pasta.
Seriously, you can be as inventive or as boring with your diet and be trim and healthy. But even more importantly, this type of diet does wonders–AMAZING wonders–for your heart health, and virtually any other sort of health.
Not only that, but eating a plant-based diet is much better for the environment, which is very much a bonus.
“The Starch Solution can help you lose weight and feel and look better, and–with no extra effort–help to heal the world around you…making our planet healthier and more sustainable for future generations.”John A. McDougall, MD
If you’ve been on the Keto bandwagon and haven’t reached your health and fitness goals, give a high carbohydrate diet a go. It has science behind it. It can be delicious, varied, and even gourmet.
You can make it simple, quick, fresh, and even fancy.
Most of all, it’s sustainable, and will help you live your second phase with more health and vitality.
I don’t know what could be better than that.
Let me know in the comments what you think!
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